Old Plank Road Trail
A 22-mile recreation and nature trail in northeastern Illinois
History • Interurban Railway The Joliet & Southern Traction Company (J&ST) line ran parallel to the Michigan Central Rail Road from Chicago Heights to Joliet. The trolley or interurban shared the right of way with the railroad for much of the length of the Old Plank Road Trail. The J&ST was a sister company to the Aurora, Plainfield & Joliet Railroad Company (AP&JRR). The AP&JRR entered Joliet from the west and connected to the J&ST in Joliet. J&ST tracks crossed the Michigan Central R.R. (now the OPRT) tracks in two locations. In downtown Matteson, the interurban built a bridge that crossed the Michigan Central and Illinois Central tracks at the same time. The map below shows the station stops along the lines of the two interurban lines.
graphic by Jim Nugent J&ST car on the Matteson or Summit bridge. In Joliet, the J&S shared its station facilities with the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria interurban.
Black and white photographs on this page are from the collection of the Matteson Historical Society
Matteson Historical Society Photograph
Here's another picture of the bridge in Matteson over the IC and MC railroad tracks.
J&ST Traction
OPRT photo by Jim Nugent
The J&ST trolley tracks ran parallel to the Michigan Central R.R. (OPRT) tracks from Chicago Heights to Summit, west of Frankfort. At Summit the interurban used a "fly- over" bridge to go to the north side of the trail. The concrete abutments for that "fly-over" bridge are about the only thing left from the interurban era. These abutments probably supported a light weight steel truss bridge similar to the one in the picture above.
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Matteson Station
Tower Trolley